NEWS

In Brief

SHIPWRECK

Seventeen Turkish sailors saved as freighter founders off Peloponnese A Malta-flagged freighter sank off the western Peloponnese on Saturday, but all 17 officers and crew aboard managed to evacuate the stricken vessel unharmed and were picked up off a life raft by a passing cargo ship. Coast-guard vessels took the 17, all Turkish nationals, to the southwestern port of Pylos (photo). The Ogan, which was carrying a cargo of iron, had set sail from an Ukrainian port and was headed for Tunisia. According to the Merchant Marine Ministry, it let in water and sank after a fire in the engine room. All 17 sailors were in good health yesterday. BORDER QUEUES As Albanian workers head home, traffic jams form at Kakavia Hundreds of cars and buses formed long queues on Saturday at the Kakavia border crossing in Epirus as thousands of Albanian nationals heading back to their country for the summer holidays waited to have their papers checked. Since the end of July, more than 15,000 Albanian holidaymakers have made the crossing back home from Kakavia. This is considerably fewer than last summer, when a record 130,000 Albanian migrant workers who had received Greek residence permits for the first time flocked home for the summer in the certainty that they could legally re-enter Greece. As a result, travelers returning to Greece in late August had to wait up to 40 hours at Greek border checkpoints due to tight border controls in view of Greece’s Schengen Treaty obligations. LIGHTNING DEATHS Two die in fierce storms Two people were killed by lightning in northern Greece yesterday during sudden violent storms that struck most of the country. At the resort of Stavros, near Thessaloniki, Czech tourist Marcella Novotna, 29, was struck as she ran from the beach to her hotel to seek shelter from the rain. And at Sozopolis in Halkidiki, Efthymios Giotakis, 31, was hit on his motorbike while driving on the Thessaloniki-to-Moudania highway. Both died instantly. Kosovo Gypsies After spending over three months in a tent city on the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia’s side of the border with Greece, some 600 Gypsies from Kosovo started striking camp on Saturday after a deal with United Nations and FYROM government officials. The Gypsies, who fled Kosovo in fear of persecution from Albanian nationalists after the 1999 war, had initially demanded to be resettled in Greece – a request which Athens rejected. They then asked to go to another European Union country, meeting with no better success. The refugees agreed to stay in FYROM and find accommodation of their own with monthly support of $43 for every adult and $35 for every child, according to United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees spokesman Goran Momiroski. No funeral Novelist and poet Antonis Samarakis, who died of a heart attack on Friday aged 84, has donated his body to medical research, the Athens News Agency reported yesterday. Samarakis’s remains are expected to be taken to Athens University. The award-winning writer, who was also the first Greek to be named a United Nations goodwill ambassador, died in his holiday home in Pylos. Rogue speedboat Coast guards off the southern coast of Athens had to fire bursts of shots to stop an empty rubber dinghy that was heading at top speed for a flotilla of sailing boats taking part in the national sailing championships on Saturday. The coast guard had to take the matter in hand after the dinghy’s occupant, an Austrian sailing coach, lost control of the vessel and fell into the sea. Officers resorted to firing shots which disabled the dinghy’s outboard engine after attempts to harness the vessel with ropes failed. Plane crashes A private light aircraft crashed during landing near an airfield in northern Greece on Saturday, but none of the three people on board were seriously hurt. The Cessna plane clipped the fence of the airfield on the outskirts of Xanthi while trying to land in strong wind, lost both wings and flopped onto a road. Occupants Paris Garefis, Christos Christodoulou, and Eleni Karananou were hospitalized with minor fractures. Shop raid A Thessaloniki tobacconist was shot in the leg by two men armed with a shotgun who burgled his shop early on Saturday. Nikos Frangiadakis, 23, who lives in a flat above the shop, heard suspicious sounds from the store at around 2.30 a.m. and went to investigate. The burglars shot him and ran away. Frangiadakis was recovering in hospital yesterday. Road deaths Three people were killed early on Saturday near Kalpaki, in northern Greece, when a small truck crashed into a car on the road between Ioannina and Kozani. The victims were identified as Evangelos Tsiotas, 30, Spiros Tsavos, 19, and Aristotelis Siozis, 19. All three were in the truck. The car’s occupants escaped with light injuries.